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Personal Injury Division

Personal Injury Division Screening Questions Frequently Asked Questions

1. Q. Can the therapist read my mind?
2. Q. What will they do to me?
3. Q. Who will know I am in therapy?
4. Q. Will I have to lie on a couch?
5. Q. Will I have to talk about my childhood?
6. Q. Will therapy make me feel worse?
7. Q. How often will I have to attend?
8. Q. Will I have to take pills?
9. Q. What if I don’t like my therapist?
10. Q. Why will talking make me feel better?
11. Q. How long will it take to feel better? 

1. Q. Can the therapist read my mind?
A. No, if we could, we would be worth a fortune!!

This question simply indicates how vulnerable people often feel when engaging in therapy. It often takes time to develop a therapeutic relationship but therapists are aware of this and work hard to accommodate and allay such anxieties. To entrust one’s innermost thoughts and feelings to a relative stranger is no easy task, particularly as it could well be the first occasion the person has revealed such things to anyone, let alone “the stranger”.


2. Q. What will they do to me?
A. Nothing…..

But with the client’s assistance, a lot can be done together, in terms of understanding apparently insurmountable problems and employing techniques to address and hopefully resolve them. Psychological therapy is a non-invasive treatment approach. It involves talking and often task setting but nothing is done directly to the client.


3. Q. Who will know I am in therapy?
A
. No-one other than the person who referred you unless you give permission otherwise.

Despite the widespread availability of psychological therapy nowadays, it is true to say that it still carries something of a stigma, with some people thinking that you only need such help if you are “mad”. Consequently, clients often worry a lot about the issue of confidentiality. Such issues are addressed at the very beginning. Therapists are very aware of how important such issues are for the client, and establishing the boundaries of confidentiality is one of the cornerstones in building a therapeutic relationship.

Sometimes it can be important to obtain permission to inform others of therapy (such as the client’s GP) if, for example, problems arise that can not be contained within the private therapy setting. There may be very rare occasions where the therapist is professionally bound to inform others, however, in situations where serious risk is believed likely to either the client’s life or that of others.


4. Q. Will I have to lie on a couch?
A
. No.

CBT therapy is conducted through face-to-face contact. It is only with the more traditional analytic approaches to therapy that a couch is normally used. However, you might be asked to lie down if you are being taught relaxation techniques but this can also be done while sitting comfortably in a chair.


5. Q. Will I have to talk about my childhood?
A. This is unlikely.

CBT is a focussed approach, aimed at relief of current psychological symptoms and dysfunctional thought processes about current problems rather than those relating to childhood. However, sometimes it can be relevant to talk about past events, for example to fully understand the client’s thoughts associated with a traumatic event.


6. Q. Will therapy make me feel worse?
A. Yes, sometimes in the early stages of therapy feelings bought to the forefront of your mind can leave you feeling worse for a while. This does not go on for long however, and as therapy continues, such distress will reduce.

The likelihood is that therapy will assist and in many cases, resolve psychological difficulties. However, in the early stages of the process, clients may experience an intensification of symptoms. This is normal because they will often be addressing a problem that they have been avoiding for a long time. This is particularly true of Phobias. However, the therapist will help the client to confront their psychological difficulties in a relatively safe and secure manner, offering effective psychological techniques to confront their problems.


7. Q. How often will I have to attend?
A. This can vary.

Frequency of sessions will depend on the amount of progress you make but in the early stages, sessions are typically on a weekly or at least fortnightly basis. Once the principles have been explained and progress is being made, the time between sessions may be extended, in order to give time to complete “homework” tasks, in which you put the psychological principles into practice.


8. Q. Will I have to take pills?
A. No. Psychotropic medication (i.e. pills prescribed to assist with mental health problems) is not the domain of a psychological therapist.

However, sometimes the therapist may recommend that the client discuss with their GP the short-term use of medication to reduce anxiety or raise mood levels so that they are better able to fully engage with therapy.


9. Q. What if I don’t like my therapist?
A. As in all relationships, this is a possibility.

However, you would be advised to discuss such problems with your treating therapist because it is possible the difficulties are symptomatic of your psychological problems, rather than the therapeutic relationship itself. It would obviously help to be clear about this, before deciding to move on to another therapist, only to find similar problems there.


10. Q. Why will talking make me feel better?
A. Talking alone will not necessarily make you feel better.

However we cannot have therapy without talking about ourselves, and most people find some relief in sharing their problems. In CBT through talking about these issues together, the client and therapist identify how negative thought patterns are affecting mood and behaviour, and how to address this. How we think is inextricably linked to how we feel. For more information on this issue, visit Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.


11. Q. How long will it take to feel better?
A. This will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of your problem and how long it has been with you.

Recovery depends on a number of factors not least the client’s willingness to engage, and belief in therapy. In some cases, ongoing reminders of the traumatic event, such as the litigation process, can also interfere with recovery. A past history of similar psychological problems might make the recovery period longer but no definitive answer can be given to this question. The therapist will review progress with the client at intervals during therapy to be sure that optimum progress is being made. For mild problems, however, therapy can usually take place over 6 to 8 weeks, whilst more severe problems may require 6 to 9 months.

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